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Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Post Graduation Work Permit

Canada offers the PGWP as part of its efforts to attract international students and retain them as immigrants. The PGWP is an open work permit, which allows international graduates to work for any Canadian employer without needing a job offer. Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) are for international students who have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) gives you permission to remain in Canada and work full time for up to three years after you graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution. The length of the work permit depends on the length of your program. PGWP is an excellent way to advance your professional goals and gain Canadian work experience, which you might need to qualify for permanent residence.

10 +

Years Of Experience

10000 +

Successful Applications

PGWP quick facts

  • A post-graduation work permit can be valid for any length of time between eight months and three years.
  • A PGWP will not be issued for a duration longer than the applicant’s duration of study in Canada.
  • Generally, the PGWP will be approximately the same duration as the applicant’s period of study, up to a maximum of three years.
  • As long as more than 50% of your program of study is conducted via in-person classes, you are eligible for a PGWP equal to the duration of your program of study.
    If you studied part-time, or did accelerated studies, the length of your PGWP will be the length of your program of study, if taken full-time.
  • If you studied part-time, or did accelerated studies, the length of your PGWP will be the length of your program of study, if taken full-time.
  • International students can only receive one Post-Graduation Work Permit. You cannot get a PGWP if you already had one after completing an earlier program of study.
  • Applicants who apply for a PGWP prior to the expiration of their study permit are eligible to begin working full time immediately, while their application is processing (i.e., you do not need to have a work permit while awaiting a decision on your PGWP application).
  • If you leave Canada after your studies have been completed, you can also apply for a PGWP from overseas.

PGWP eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:

  • Completed a program of study from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that lasted at least eight months and led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Studied full-time each academic session (excludes scheduled breaks), with two exceptions:
    • You studied part-time in your final academic session only.
    • You took an authorized leave in studies for less than 150 days.
  • Received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that the applicant has met the requirements to complete their program of study.
  • Graduated from a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, a trade or technical school, a university, CEGEP (in Quebec), a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec, a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) or a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.
  • Valid study permit or visitor record.
  • Submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expired, and no decision has been made on your application.
  • You submitted an application to change your status to visitor before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application.

Authorized leave from studies?

There are a few cases where you may be able to take a leave of up to a maximum of 150 days from your program of studies and still be considered to be actively pursuing your studies. Following conditions and/or circumstances may be considered as an authorized leave:

  • Your school has authorized a leave from your study program for medical reasons or pregnancy, family emergency, death/serious illness of a family member or any other type of leave your school authorizes.
  • Your school has closed permanently or because of a strike.
  • You have changed schools.
  • You or your school deferred your program start date. In this case, you must start your studies the next semester, even if it starts sooner than 150 days, and get an updated letter of acceptance.
You can not work on or off campus during an authorized leave from your study program, even if your study permit says you are allowed to work in Canada.

PGWP application deadline

The deadline to apply for the PGWP is within 180 days upon obtaining a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that the requirements to complete the program of study have been met.

If an applicant is applying from within Canada, they must have valid legal status at the time of application. If the study permit is set to expire before obtaining an official transcript and letter of completion, there are 2 options:

  • Apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada; or
  • Leave Canada and apply for the PGWP from overseas.

When applying, applicants must demonstrate that they either hold a valid study permit, held a study permit, or were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

If you stay in Canada and let your permit expire, you must apply to restore your status as a student to apply for your PGWP.

Special cases

If you are in any of these groups, you may be eligible for a PGWP:

Accelerated programs

If you complete your study program in less time than the normal length of the program, you may be eligible for a PGWP valid for the full length of your program. For example, if you complete a 1-year study program in 8 months, you may be able to get a PGWP valid for 1 year.

Distance learning

If distance learning makes up less than 50% of your study program, you may be eligible for a PGWP. The length of the PGWP would match the length of your program, including both in-class and distance courses. Any distance courses completed outside Canada will not be included in the length of the PGWP. If distance learning makes up more than 50% of your study program, you are not eligible for a PGWP.

Transfers between schools

If you transferred between designated learning institutions (DLIs), the combined length of your studies must be at least 8 months to be eligible.

If you transferred from a non-DLI to a DLI, only the time you spend studying at the DLI will be counted. You must spend at least 8 months at the DLI to be eligible for a PGWP.

Canadian study programs with an overseas component

If your study program has an overseas component, you may be eligible for a PGWP as long as you earn a credit from a Canadian school for it. The PGWP will only be valid for the length of the time you studied in Canada.

Ineligible PGWP Applicants

International students are ineligible for the PGWP Program if they:

  • Have previously been issued a PGWP.
  • Studied English or French as a second language.
  • Took general interest or self-improvement courses.
  • Received funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
  • Participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC.
  • Obtained the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile.
  • Participated in the Canada–China Scholars’ Exchange Program.
  • Participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program.
  • Completed the majority of the credits toward the completion of their program of study by distance learning.
  • Completed a program of study delivered by a non-Canadian institution located in Canada, regardless of the length of stay in Canada.